July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
In the traditional factory-based engineering education model, schools are modeled as factories, where students are often superficially viewed as unfinished parts and materials which undergo a series of cold, machine-like value-added processes to produce educated graduates. Critics of this model are often unsatisfied with the non-individualized dimensions of a rigid, collective mechanistic cultural production model. However, manufacturing processes and workflows in modern (2000s and beyond) production environments have become tailored for employee autonomy and product customization, offering an opportunity to re-examine the traditional factory-based engineering education model and develop new synergies for balancing efficiency and individualization.
In this paper, we examine and expand on this factory-based metaphor by proposing an updated human-centric engineering education model based on modern manufacturing processes to demonstrate that efficiency does not have to be antagonistic to individualization. Several tenets of manufacturing and production workflows that can be adapted to an educational environment are identified, such as the Toyota Production System (TPS) workflow. In particular, our example model focuses on the principles of respect for people, continuous improvement, and visual control. Utilizing these principles from modern industry can capture both the humanistic and consistency components required by engineering education for students to draw important insights. Within this updated model, instead of viewing students as products, students are viewed as employees. In this view, students develop the engineering knowledge and skills they need for their career, akin to employees producing products to a specification. As with an assembled product, the quality of the value-added process at each stage of a manufacturing process directly impacts downstream components, especially if there is a direct reliance for a particular requirement. For example, calculus is required in nearly all engineering courses, and competency in calculus can be analogous to quality of an input stage early in the manufacturing process initiated by the employee.
Finally, we present a learner-centered course redesign of a statics course to show the applicability of modern manufacturing principles towards improving engineering education. This redesign demonstrates that a mastery-based course structure is consistent with our updated model and TPS principles. In this redesign, a continuous and iterative process was employed to ensure continuous improvement, and it follows a closed loop pattern of diagnosis, analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation (diagnosis).
Wang, Y. C., & Kuo, J., & Shen, H., & Raymond, D. E., & Brieu, M. J. (2021, July), A Human-Centric Engineering Education Model Inspired from Modern Manufacturing Processes Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36586
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